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Technology, innovation and management
Technology, innovation and management

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6.3 Defining innovation management

This raises the question, is it possible to define innovation management? There have, in fact, been several attempts at doing just that, of which we only draw on a couple of examples here. An early attempt would be Brown (1997), who concluded, on the basis of a survey of tools and techniques for managing innovation across 17 European countries, that innovation management was concerned with people, culture, communication and organisation of business processes and technology.

Interestingly – but perhaps unsurprisingly – this is similar to Bartol and Martin’s (1998) definition of change management, which includes technology, human resources, organisational culture and structure. It is also worth adding that a wide-ranging review of studies of innovation management discovered that ‘the terms innovation management and technology management are often used interchangeably, or rolled into one.’ (Igartua et al., 2010, p. 42). Again, this is unsurprising if we remember that earlier in this course we noted that technology is almost always present in one form or another in any example of innovation/innovation process. Nevertheless, Igartua et al. go on to note that:

On the one hand, innovation management can be defined as the creation of preconditions to promote human creativity, including strategic commitment and context management. On the other hand, innovation management can be seen as a process to foster the application of knowledge.

(Dankbar (2003), cited in Igartua et al., 2010, p. 42)

Igartua et al. therefore conclude that:

IM involves many different components and requires the management of a variety of areas, including:

  • the strategy of innovation
  • portfolio management
  • project management
  • leadership and organisational culture
  • human resources
  • external relations
  • organisational design
  • innovation processes
  • performance measures
  • marketing
  • resources
  • knowledge and intellectual property management
  • technology.
(Igartua et al., 2010, p. 43)

Igartua et al. finally suggest that: ‘The need to manage the innovation process and context demands managers make effective and timely decisions based on multiple functions, inputs, and disciplines.’ (Igartua et al., 2010, p. 44) and identify a set of ‘Tools, techniques and methodologies to support the process of innovation’, including:

  • creativity development techniques
  • technology management techniques
  • strategic management techniques
  • HR management techniques
  • business intelligence techniques
  • project management techniques
  • new product and process development techniques
  • cooperation and networking techniques
  • design management techniques
  • knowledge management techniques.
(Igartua et al., 2010, p. 45)